What should authors who are lukewarm about FB and Twitter do? Where should readers go for their bookish news?? (#WritingLife #AmReading)

A few updates…

I just posted my thoughts on my June Reading Challenge choices. I’ll post July’s choices tomorrow. As much as I want you all to read with me (and tell me your thoughts on the books), the other reasons I’m continuing my 2017 Reading Challenge is to be more purposeful with my own reading and to just encourage reading in general. Hey, we all have to do our part, right?

I sent out my June newsletter on June 30th with only a few hours to spare. When I started the newsletter, I wanted to make it a little different than this blog and one thing I promised was less frequent, but more consistent, content. I was having a minor panic attack at the thought of getting that newsletter out late. What’s in it? See for yourself here (hint: there’s a quiz, a recipe contest, my quarterly giveaway, and a Noon #5 update).

In other news…

EarlyWord, the publisher/librarian connection, co-founded and edited by Nora Rawlinson, announced Monday that is was ceasing publication. I read the news that day at work (for any new followers, I moonlight as a part-time librarian at my local library) and my immediate, albeit childish, one word response to EarlyWord‘s last word was…

Noooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Admittedly, I was a late-on-the-scene reader, but I’ve faithfully followed nearly every post of EarlyWord‘s for a year now (since I first started working at the library). I even mentioned my love for it just two months ago here (toward the end of the post, buried under the Giveaway subheading). Geesh, the whole thing reminded me of when GalleyCat stopped publishing back in December. And who remembers the amazing SF Signal?! (At least they still tweet.) Just in the last two weeks, both Wendig and Scalzi shared that their blog traffic numbers were way down. So, upon further refection, I’m amending my earlier initial one word response to news like this to a more mature two word response a la Dana Freeling in 1982’s Poltergeist:

What’s happening?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Answer: Read their blogs… or just consult your own gut feelings about how the current political climate + the ways in which people read blog content now has changed things for authors. Again. Sigh.

So what’s an author who is lukewarm about Facebook and Twitter to do? Hell if I know. If you do, let me know in the comments. (This is not, btw, a shake down. I’m not asking yet again what people want to see from this blog. It’s really an invitation to any other writer out there who doesn’t love FB or Twitter to come whine with me.)

So where on earth are readers supposed to go today to get their bookish news?? Obviously, there are other sources (and, as always, I’m interested in hearing yours), but EarlyWord‘s loss will be deeply felt by me. I’m going to try to find an acceptable alternative, but it may take a while…

In the meantime, WordPress informed me that TODAY IS MY 6TH ANNIVERSARY WITH THEM. Happy Blogoversary to me! 😀

 

What else has been happening?

Our vampire eradication business is well underway. Last week, we brought home a huge trailer full of stakes and I spent the Fourth of July filling the kids’ water bottles with garlickly holy water. (Obviously, kidding. We replaced a bunch of fence posts and I made garlic chicken in my slow-cooker.)

I visited Ladew Gardens to check out their new and old art. To the left is Mary Ann Mears’ painted steel sculpture, “Queen.” (Literature provided to members says, “The queen has feminine curves; her pointed crown suggests power and she looks like she is armed with daggers; a warrior pawn stands by her side.” To me, it looks like the queen’s attendant is wielding a sickle. What do you think?) The sculpture is temporarily on display in the Wildflower Meadow until Halloween. As for the statue on the right, I couldn’t find a title, but you can help name it. Let’s take our inspiration from existing book titles…


Finally, I visited Annapolis, went to one of their First Sunday Arts Fests, and had the only piece of artwork I was interested in bought out from under me. And I watched Tugg unsuccessfully battle our lawn sprinkler. Afterward, he was soaked but happy. Hope you are too! 🙂

[Editor’s Note (i.e. my note – blogs have no editors, they are imperfect, bloggers even more so): An earlier version of this post referred to Dominique Dunne, the young actress who played Dana Freeling. At the time of the post, I hadn’t known that she was murdered the same year that Poltergeist came out. It was shocking, sad news for me, even almost forty years later.]

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8 Things I Learned from #Blogging Almost Every Day for Two Weeks

I’ve blogged nearly every day since June 1st. Here’s what I thought of it:

  1. Man, that was hard! And I even had most of the posts written before I started. Of course, things behind the scenes got hectic for me right around the time I ran out of pre-written posts so…
  2. I was unable to actually post once a day. I’ve often wondered if I’d be able to do the A-Z Challenge. Now I know — NO. (But that doesn’t mean I won’t try a modified version of it someday).
  3. My stats went up. I’ve also often wondered if consistently blogging would increase my stats, especially since I don’t overly emphasize follower participation. (Do I love comments? Yes! You bet I do. I don’t think there’s a writer out there who doesn’t love hearing from people who read their stuff. But I’ve actively avoided some practices that encourage more robust follower participation, e.g. offering weekly prizes, discussing politics and/or current events, etc.). I’M GRATEFUL FOR EVERY FOLLOWER AND I’M DOUBLY THANKFUL TO THOSE OF YOU THAT TAKE THE TIME TO COMMENT, but I know you have busy lives. I do too, which is why…
  4. Even though the stats went up, it wasn’t enough to justify blogging every day. And nor do I think you need me to. But I’m curious about your thoughts. There’s a poll below. Please stop by and fill it out if you have time. It’s anonymous and takes less than a minute.
  5. Blogging about TV nearly every day made me feel as if all I do is watch TV, which isn’t true!!! But it did make me realize that I’ve probably been watching more than I should. Summer will be a great time to READ MORE.
  6. Blogging nearly every day about TV made me wonder if Noon fans thought I’d deserted them. Nothing could be further from the truth! Pocket Full of Tinder is currently with a fantastic editor and the cover is 100% complete. I’ll have more details in July.
  7. Blogging nearly every day made me want/need some time off from blogging. I’m not going on a summer hiatus like I did last year, but I don’t plan on posting again until the end of the month.
  8. But I’ll definitely be back! I’ve mentioned before that I follow John Scalzi’s blog Whatever (me and everyone else 🙂 ). He wrote an interesting post recently called “How Blogs Work Today.” Ironically, one of his points was that not a lot of people discuss his posts on their personal blogs anymore, which is what I’m doing here. In any case, though we’re very different writers/bloggers and I’m always cautious about comparing dislike situations, he shared some anecdotal evidence that made me think. I’ve definitely seen a drop in follower engagement since I first started blogging, which is different than traffic. Admittedly, this could be because I took a hiatus from blogging last summer, haven’t published anything since 2014, and/or I don’t encourage robust follower participation. But I also think it’s due to the fact that people simply aren’t blogging as much as they used to. Blogging seems kind of old school when compared to Instagram, Pinterest, and Snap Chat. Today’s casual creators seem to prefer visual and/or short forms. For serious content creators, however, John’s takeaway is worth repeating: GET AND KEEP YOUR OWN BLOG.

So… I’ll be here… on and off… blogging about the things that interest me indefinitely… but not again until June 30th… probably.

In the meantime, take my poll and let me know your thoughts on blogging and commenting in the comments. 😀

Program Note

I know I’ve been VERY QUIET. Just busy.

The good news is the cover for Pocket Full of Tinder is almost finished – yay! It’s looking so great!! I’m getting ready to send out my June newsletter. In it, I’m going to share a bunch of sketches by my awesome illustrator, as well as a little bit about the process. If you love book covers and behind-the-scenes making-of type stuff, then sign up here.

As with my last newsletter, I’m offering some fun prizes. A $10 eGC to Book Depository –OR– fireball earrings and a SWAG pack, winner’s choice except any winner outside of U.S. gets the eGC. What’s included in the SWAG pack? Red hot cinnamon candy, bookmarks, book charms, book lover buttons, and an artist trading card made and signed by yours truly. I was looking for something unique to give out and ATCs seemed like a neat idea.

To make up for my being MIA at the end of May, I’m going to be posting EVERY DAY UNTIL MID-JUNE (I know, can you believe it?! I warned you about my inconsistent posting schedule. 🙂 ) But, seriously, it’s always good to change things up. In the past, I’ve gone for days (weeks) without blogging and then dumped one to two thousand word posts on you. This time, I’m splitting it up.

Starting today, I’ll be counting down my Top Ten Science Fiction and Fantasy TV Shows. I also have two guest bloggers scheduled so… Stay tuned and enjoy the posts!!

Secrets of Successful Virtual Book Tours: Interview with Roxanne Rhoads (#BookMarketing)

Today, my guest is the fantastic Roxanne Rhoads. As many of you know, Roxanne helped me to organize blog tours for all of my Noon Onyx books, as well as cover reveals for my second and third books. She was wonderful to work with. Her book, SECRETS OF SUCCESSFUL VIRTUAL BOOK TOURS is currently on sale at Amazon for $0.99. It’s a great overview — perfect for new writers considering their promo options.

After reading it, I asked Roxanne a handful of questions about virtual book tours, teasers, graphic designers, review copies, multi-author events, and how authors can support their local booksellers while promoting their books online. Her answers are below, along with an excerpt and TWO giveaway chances: one through Goodreads and one via Rafflecopter. Questions? Feel free to ask in the comments. Welcome, Roxanne!

Roxanne Rhoads Secrets of Successful Virtual Book Tours

Do you have any specific advice for authors who have already toured with you?

Stay visible, continue to network, and keep your social media up to date. I spoke with one author who has tried it all, ads, promotions, sales…she said the thing that worked best was to stay present. Remain visible online, keep interacting on social media whether you have a new book or not.

Author interviews, excerpts, and contests are a mainstay of virtual book tours. Your book points out that the most successful blog tours also include guest posts with engaging content and visuals. You mention “teasers” in particular. Can you share a few examples from past tours?

I am working on a Pinterest board featuring teasers, here’s the link:

Can you recommend a few graphic designers and/or programs or applications that authors can use to create these?

Canva is a good one for teasers, they have some fun templates to work with. If you want to make a collage Pixlr Express has a nice collage feature I use for putting together scene images.

Eva Talia is a Bewitching partner who offers discount graphics services for Bewitching clients.

You advise authors to provide a review copy. Is piracy a legitimate concern for those authors who share digital copies of their book with potential reviewers?

It seems like many people don’t see the value in digital content. They don’t even think it is stealing to share eBooks, music, movies…if it is not a physical object it’s not “real” and they don’t want to pay for it.

For authors, I think piracy can be an issue no matter how safe they try to keep their eBooks. There is always a risk. The sad thing is that some pirating seems to stem from the bookstore sales sites. If someone buys your eBook and returns it, that’s when you need to start checking pirate sites. Pirates will find a way no matter what.  I had a book end up on a pirate site and the only place I had posted it so far was Amazon. I hadn’t even sent any copies to reviewers yet. There’s no way it could have been leaked through an outside source.

Authors need the book reviewed, which means they need to get it into the hands of reviewers. Stick with trusted bloggers and reviewers to minimize risk. You can also add water marks and password protects to pdf review copies.

The sad fact is that digital content gets pirated and no matter how diligent we are it still happens.

I love that your book ended with a reminder that in-person events aren’t a thing of the past. What are some of the things authors might do to support local booksellers while they’re touring?

Always talk to local bookstores about live events. Many local stores are happy to support area authors. Authors can also work with local bookstores for author meetings and multi-author events. Some stores will even partner with authors to sell signed copies of books.

Kim Harrison is a great example of an author supporting a local book store. She partners with Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor, MI and signs a bunch of her books that the book store sells both in store and online. If readers and fans can’t attend one of her live signings she points them to Nicola’s to order a signed copy.

Speaking of in-person events, I think the ones that are the most fun are those where authors join forces with other authors. Is there a blog tour equivalent? What sort of events do you and/or other blog companies offer that bring authors and readers together online in one place at one time?

Multi-author Facebook events are a great way for authors to join together and do a live online event. Each author gets a block of time to chat, do giveaways, play games, etc. Multi-author blog tours that coincide with Facebook parties can offer the best of both worlds. Online convenience and real-time event interaction. Bewitching offers custom packages for groups of authors wishing to set up this type of event.

Can you tell us more about Fang-tastic Books?

Fang-tastic Books started out as my vampire book review blog, though it now focuses on all types of books including paranormal romance, urban fantasy, horror, and cozy mysteries with paranormal elements. It is where I really started focusing on book blogging, reviewing, and paranormal book promotions. I started the blog in 2008 and have been running it ever since. My review quotes (often listed as Fang-tastic Books) are on covers and in the front of many books including those by Juliet Blackwell, Chloe Neill, and Annette Blair.

BBT has been in business since 2010. Do you occasionally add new services? Is there anything new you’re considering adding to your menu of services for 2016?

Bewitching is always trying new things to see what works, what draws in readers. Twitter parties, Facebook events, live video chats, chatrooms, our magazine, book swag creations and the radio show… some things we keep, others don’t seem to work so we move on to something new.

For 2016 I have some ideas I am tossing around but nothing solid that I have firmly decided on yet. I will say one option I am considering, is adding is the creation of Thunderclap campaigns.

I am always open to discussing options for custom tour packages or ongoing PR services.

SECRETS OF SUCCESSFUL

VIRTUAL BOOK TOURS

Excerpt

The world of publishing is continuously evolving thanks to technology and the Internet. It is now easier than ever to publish a book. But with the growing number of new books being released every day it is also harder than ever to get your book noticed in the crowd.

If your line of thinking includes “If I publish it, people will buy it,” think again.

Indie publishing requires a dedication to self-promotion. Gone are the days an author hermits them self away to write, then hands the book to the publisher who does all the leg work for promotion. Even NYT Bestselling authors and those with contracts through the big publishers still have to do a certain amount of self-promotion.

There are many ways to promote:  social media, advertising on popular websites and blogs, print advertising in trade magazines, attending reader oriented conventions and events…but one of the best ways to get your book out there and build name recognition as an author is through a virtual book tour.

In this Quick Tips for Authors Guide, you will learn why a virtual book tour can be an author’s most effective marketing tool.

Roxanne Rhoads Secrets of Successful Virtual Book Tours Amazon Sale

More about Roxanne

Roxanne Rhoads has been working in the world of online book promotion since 2005. She has worked as a freelance writer, author, book reviewer, book blogger, editor, self-publisher and book publicist. She has a unique advantage of knowing how multiple sides of book publishing and promotion operate.

Roxanne understands how book bloggers work and what they want to make their jobs easier while also understanding that authors need promotion to be streamlined, easy, and less time consuming.

Roxanne shares some of her knowledge in her latest release, Secrets of Successful Virtual Book Tours.

More about Secrets of Successful Virtual Book Tours

Are you considering a virtual book tour?

Not sure where to start or exactly what an online tour will entail?

Roxanne Rhoads, book publicist and owner of Bewitching Book Tours, shares her virtual tour expertise in this Quick Tips for Authors Guide.

Secrets of Successful Virtual Book Tours will guide you in utilizing the best marketing tool available a virtual book tour, which can create online exposure for your book, jumpstart your book sales, help build your author brand, and expand your network.

In this guide you’ll learn:

  • what you should do before a tour
  • the components of a great author website
  • the best social media outlets for authors to utilize
  • tips for building your author brand
  • how to write great guest blogs
  • what to expect from an online book tour
  • the secrets of successful book tours
  • how to schedule your own virtual book tour

And you’ll receive in-depth details about what to do during a virtual book tour to guarantee success.

Amazon | BN | Kobo | Scribd | iBooks | Smashwords | Inktera | Createspace

Giveaways

Roxanne is giving away a Bewitching Book Tours Release Day Blitz or Cover Reveal (winner’s choice) and an ecopy of her book Secrets of Successful Virtual Book Tours at the end of her tour. For the Rafflecopter form, click here.

She’s also running a Goodreads giveaway. See the widget below to enter that giveaway. For my complete giveaway rules, click here.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Secrets of Successful Virtual Book Tours by Roxanne Rhoads

Secrets of Successful Virtual Book Tours

by Roxanne Rhoads

Giveaway ends March 28, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Roxanne Rhoads Secrets of Successful Virtual Book Tours Banner

Thanks for the interview, Roxanne! Wishing you and BBT the best!!

Blogging Swan Song

You may have noticed that my posts here have dwindled lately. Months ago, I decided to take a break from blogging (originally, I thought I wouldn’t blog past June but my vaca got in the way of me posting these final hurrahs so now it’s nearly mid-summer and I’m just getting around to my bloggy swan song).

Why I’m Stopping

Mostly, because I want to focus on my books more than my blogging.

And it’s good to shake things up every now and then – to take a break and/or try something new. I think it’s been clear from the beginning that my goal was a casual, eclectic site where I could discuss things that I think are fun and neat and invite other writers to share their thoughts on the same.

It was important to me when I first entered the crazy world of social media that I be seen as a whole person and not just the author who wrote books about a world where the demons had won.

But now that four years and three books are behind me, I think lots of you know who I am and those that don’t… Maybe they just want books, not blog posts! 😀

I’ve achieved my goal, which was TO BLOG. Period. (Admittedly, I had some loose secondary goals like “at least once a week” “add guest bloggers” “increase traffic” “learn how to use WordPress” “reach 100 countries” … that sort of thing). But I’ve reached those goals too now.

I’ve loved the quirkiness of blogging, the random connections, how blogging isn’t perfect and no one expects it to be. I’ve loved its serendipity.

Who remembers that one of my top referrers for years was Sir Jog A Lot (a marathon runner!) or that one of my top posts in 2014 was my review of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (bc, it turns out, lots of people search the internet for… well… if not the meaning of life then at least the meaning of ghost cat metaphors) or that a vintage aircraft/WWII researcher contacted me with info about my grandfather seventy years after he died bc of a Veteran’s Day post I did back in 2013?

IF YOU HAVEN’T BLOGGED YET, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!

That feeling of being part of a larger whole and using your blog as a tool to connect with others is powerfully addictive stuff.

I’ll miss it, that’s for sure.

But I’ll still be around (see below). And there’s nothing stopping me from starting up again in the fall. (Although, if I do, this blog may become more of an author newsletter with info about my upcoming releases, contests, cover reveals, and the like.)

Thank You for Following!

I very much appreciate everyone’s support with this blog. All the shares and comments, all the tweets and RTs, all the follows and likes. You guys are TRULY AWESOME!!! (Over the years, I’ve received many compliments about different posts. One reader told me she printed out all of my Disney park reviews so that she could save them for future trips. More recently, lots of people have told me how much they enjoyed the Five Photographs author interview series.) I always say I’m a novelist first and a blogger second, but it’s been fantastic hearing people say how much they’ve enjoyed blog posts that I wrote or hosted.

Final stats:

If you are a Noon Onyx fan, or if you want to know more about my future writing projects, stay tuned… I don’t expect to post any news this summer, but hopefully I’ll have an exciting update in the fall. In the meantime, I’ll be writing!!

If you are a writer, I’ll still be lurking on RWA’s FF&P loop (and occasionally PAN). And who knows? I just might storm the gates of SFWA’s forums this summer… 😉

Other Places You Can Find Me

Brought To You By…

the Noon Onyx Series

Gotta give a final shout out to my Noon Onyx series…

If you’ve enjoyed ANY of the posts I’ve written here over the last four years or so and you haven’t yet bought the books, PLEASE do so now! 😀

WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE

NOON ONYX #3

urban fantasy, dark fantasy, fantasy, White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, cover reveal, cover art

One out of every two hunters who follow the Old Trail will not return…

After years of denying her abilities, Noon Onyx, the first woman in history to wield waning magic, has embraced her power. She’s won the right to compete in the prestigious Laurel Crown Race. Noon’s task, however, is nearly impossible: retrieve the White Heart of Justice, a mythical sword that disappeared hundreds of years ago. The sword is rumored to be hidden in a dangerous region of Halja that she is unlikely to return from. But Noon’s life isn’t the only thing hanging in the balance. The sword holds an awesome power that, in the wrong hands, could reboot the apocalypse – and Noon is the only one who can prevent Armageddon from starting again…

“High stakes and powerful magic collide” —Publishers Weekly
“Demanding, powerful, full-flavored and utterly destructive” —Bitten by Books
“I was hooked from the beginning.” —Night Owl Reviews (TOP PICK)
 

Amazon Barnes and Noble  Books-A-Million

Powell’s Books  Book Depository  IndieBound


FIERY EDGE OF STEEL

NOON ONYX #2

Fiery Edge of Steel  Final

When traveling into the unknown, sometimes the biggest danger is the one you bring with you…

Noon Onyx is the first woman in memory to wield waning magic. Her unique abilities, paired with a lack of control and reluctance to kill, have branded her as an outsider from her peers. Only her powerful lover, Ari Carmine, and a roguish and mysterious angel, Rafe Sinclair, support her unconventional ways. When Noon is shipped off to a remote outpost to investigate several unusual disappearances, it seems Luck is not on her side. But when the outpost settlers claim that an ancient and evil foe has stepped out of legend to commit the crimes, Noon realizes that she could be facing something much worse than she ever imagined…

“Excitement and action leap from the page” —Publishers Weekly
“A fresh and fascinating series!” —RT Book Reviews (4 Stars)
“Danger, adventure, magic, love, and the quest for truth.” —The Qwillery

Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Books-A-Million

Powell’s Books  Book Depository  IndieBound


DARK LIGHT OF DAY

NOON ONYX #1

Jill Archer's Dark Light of Day

Into the darkness, we bring light…

Noon Onyx has been accepted into the prestigious St. Lucifer’s Law School where her mother hopes she’ll be trained as a Maegester. But Noon doesn’t want to control demons, set fires, or destroy things. She wants to become a Mederi so she can grow gardens and heal people. Noon’s best friend, Peter Aster, is an angel spellcaster who thinks he has the answer to Noon’s predicament: an ancient, mysterious, lost spell that can turn Noon into the Mederi she always wanted to be. Only one person stands in the way of Noon’s dream – Ari Carmine, a fellow classmate who seems fascinated by Noon’s fiery side.

“A spectacular debut novel.”—USA Today bestselling author Faith Hunter
“Set against the backdrop of university life, there is an abundance of adventure, mystery and passion!”—RT Book Reviews (4 stars)

Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Books-A-Million

Powell’s Books  Book Depository  IndieBound

 

*****

STAY TUNED FOR MORE NEWS IN THE FALL!! HAVE A FANTASTIC SUMMER, EVERYONE!!!

Another “Why I Blog” Post (this one’s good, I promise)

Every now and then I share vintage pictures here. Some have been childhood pics, but a handful have been of my grandfather, who was a WWII pilot. He died in Okinawa after his plane crashed. About six weeks ago, I received an email from another writer who’d stumbled across a Veteran’s Day post I had written back in November 2013. (In that post I’d shared a picture of my grandfather and an excerpt from a local Oklahoma newspaper about his death).

The writer who recently contacted me is writing a book on the type of planes that my grandfather flew and he’s been researching, among other things, my grandfather’s squadron. Turns out, he not only knew who my grandfather was, but he had some information to share — one item being a very sobering photograph of my grandfather’s plane after the crash. It was a picture I’d never seen before. Needless to say, opening that email attachment and seeing the wreckage was a mildly profound moment for me. I’ve grown up hearing about the way my grandfather died, but hearing about something and seeing it are two different experiences. I showed my family the photograph and my father-in-law summed up why I think the blogging part of this story is so incredible:

I gotta say that is amazing.  A somber picture.  But what it took to get it here.  The internet had to be invented, the army had to archive pictures, the pilot’s granddaughter had to be an author & another writer had to read a blog she created, recognize the aircraft & contact her over 70 years later.

I’d share the photo here, but it’s not my photo. And it’s not a happy picture. The story of how it made its way to me, however, is inspiring.

In honor of Memorial Day, I spent a few hours yesterday going back through my grandmother’s album so that I could scan some old photos and war dept. letters for this researcher/writer. As I looked through everything, it was impossible not to wish that the crash hadn’t happened. How different my grandmother and my mother’s life would have been. That said, I’m aware that other families have suffered much more recent losses. And their Memorial Day this year was probably more sad than reflective.

That’s why I’m going to end this post by simply saying thank you to all those in the armed forces, past and present, and their family members too. I’m sorry for your losses and I deeply appreciate your loved ones’ sacrifices.

Island Command Cemetery  Southern Okinawa 1945
Island Command Cemetery
Southern Okinawa
1945

General Marshall Sympathy Card

Writers Who Create Other Things – Thank you!

I wrapped up this season’s guest blog series, which featured writers who create things other than worlds and characters, yesterday. For anyone who missed any of the posts, there are links below. Many of the writers sell their jewelry and crafts. It may be too late to order custom-made holiday gifts this year but there’s always birthdays, anniversaries, and next year! Thank you to everyone who followed along and to all of the participating authors. Your creativity is inspiring!

Delilah Devlin – The Emerald Casket (Jewelry)

Terry Spear – Award-winning Teddy Bears

Danielle Ackley-McPhail – Costume Horns

Sabina Bundgaard – Baubles and Beads (Jewelry)

Beth Caudill – Chainmail Jewelry

Leela Lou Dahlin – Ink Pen Bouquets

Suzanne Johnson – Drawing, Painting, and Mixed Media Artwork

Lizzie Newell – Book Lanyards and Costumes

As my kids say, it’s Christmas Eve Eve tonight. To those of you that celebrate the holiday, good luck with any last-minute shopping or wrapping!

Blogging Milestone: My 300th Post!

I mentioned earlier that I was nearing my 300th post and THIS IS IT!

I posted my first blog article – a review of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – in September of 2011. At the time, I’m fairly certain only my agent saw it. Since 2012, I’ve averaged about a hundred posts a year (many of them written by fabulous guest bloggers), which means I’m once again celebrating a fun blogging milestone.

NEARLY 125 COUNTRIES!

One of the things that continues to amaze and delight me is the international nature of blogging. This year, people from nearly 125 countries visited my blog. Pretty darn cool, huh? 😀

Where are you all from? The Top Twenty

United States
Canada
United Kingdom
Australia
Brazil
France
Germany
India
New Zealand
Spain
Italy
Netherlands
Argentina
Philippines
Singapore
Romania
Belgium
Sweden
Mexico
Poland

WHAT BROUGHT YOU HERE? MOST POPULAR TOPICS

No surprises, but it was nice to see what the most popular categories and tags were because they nicely sum up what I want this blog to be:

CREEPY AND/OR FUN” posts about “WRITING” “BOOKS” and/or “FANTASY” stuff.

WHICH POSTS WERE YOUR FAVORITES? THE TOP FIVE

Fun “What’s Your Reaper Name?” Quiz by Boone Brux

7 Tips for Preparing for a Marathon (Oscar Movie Marathon, that is!)

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

King’s Quest: Vintage Gaming on an IBM PCjr

Is there a market for #NewAdult Fantasy?

My Oscar Movie Marathon post is a perennial favorite, which always makes me smile because I never would have guessed that it would be one of my most viewed posts when I wrote it. Like last year, a lot of the credit goes to Sir Jog A Lot. I linked to a great post he wrote back in 2009 (5 Tips for Running a 10K Race) and there’s a trackback to my post in the comments section of that post. What did this experience teach me? One, to love the serendipitous nature of blogging. Two, to be grateful for trackbacks! Three, I should do more posts linking to others in fun (even better, meaningful) ways.

As for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty… I should rename that post “The Secret Sauce of Blogging is Discussing Ghost Cat Metaphors.” 😀

WHY DO I STILL BLOG?

Reaching post 300 was a natural point in time to step back and take stock. Why do I blog? Should I still blog? To help me decide, I took a Writer’s Digest webinar with Jane Friedman on “How to Blog Meaningfully and Grow Your Audience.” If you’re new to blogging, trying to decide if you should start blogging, or just a casual blogger like me who’s wondering what it would take to push your blog to the next level, I recommend it. I watched it in the car on Thanksgiving during a two-hour car ride. Here are a few of the things I decided after watching it:

Things I Do Well

  1. My name is in the header. 🙂
  2. I share my posts on Twitter and Facebook.
  3. I USE WORDPRESS! 😀

Things I Don’t Do Well

  1. My brand is a little muddled. My focus is not as tight as it could be. (You’ve heard these confessions before.)
  2. Lack of consistency in the timing of posts. (Although Jane did mention that once a week was probably ok for those of us who aren’t super-serious bloggers).
  3. Vague headlines (perhaps my most egregious sin; I’ve been trying to do better but make no promises about permanent abstention… ahem, just look at these subheadings!).

Things I’m Not Sure About

  1. Adding personal updates to the end of guest posts. I tend to do this when I haven’t posted something in a while and I just feel like updating everyone or saying hello with a little bit of news. But it detracts from the focus of the guest blogger’s content.

Things I Might Do/Should Do

  1. Add author interviews. I’ve done a few, but not many because I feel like there are lots of interview opportunities for authors out there. But it could be fun if I can think of a unique list of questions or an interesting interview angle.
  2. Add metadata to my images. Sometimes I do this, but I don’t always remember and sometimes I’m in a hurry and skip it.
  3. Add a newsletter option for readers who just want to know when my next novel or story is coming out.

 Things I Probably Won’t Do

  1. Monetize my site: This was one of the biggest reasons I took the webinar. To decide this. (You know, it’s the whole “Go big or get out?” question). But, nope, not gonna do either right now. (Good to know, however, that if I change my mind and want to “go big”, it would be relatively easy to switch from wordpress.com to a self-hosted site and start following blogging best practices instead of knowingly and willfully ignoring them. 🙂 )
  2. Nix the guest blogs: Structuring guest blogs as intermittent, themed series really works for me.
  3. Mix up the content: For now, I’m going to continue to blog about writing, movies, books, day trips, and whatever else I think might appeal to fantasy fans. It’s what I’m into. It’s the type of content I can sustain for the long haul (or, ya know, at least the next six months 😉 ).

Which brings us back to…

WHY BLOG?

Every blogger has to decide this for themselves. For me, my reasons haven’t changed too much from when I first started. And they can be summed up in one word: CONNECTIONS. With readers. With other writers. My blog is the hub of everything I do online. Sometimes, this blog is a quiet place. But that’s ok. Because I’m a novelist first and a blogger second.

THANK YOU!

I am ever appreciative of all of my followers. Just as with a story, a blog isn’t complete without readers. Thank you to all of you that take the time to read these posts, leave comments, like them, share them, or tell me in other ways that you value the information and stories you read here.

Click here for my 100th post (includes a silly little 100-themed quiz & a 1975 pic of me with my bro and a snowman) and here for my 200th post.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

P.S. another thing I do well is add images to my posts… although sometimes they have zippo to do with writing, books, or fantasy. 😀

My brother and me, standing by the Mississippi River circa 1979
My brother and me, standing by the Mississippi River circa 1979

How to Blog (Do As I Do, Not As They Say)

#1 MAINTAIN A CONSISTENT BLOG SCHEDULE

THEY say to get the most out of your blog, you should maintain a consistent blog schedule. You should blog every day or, at the very least, blog every week on the same day.

I say blog five times a week or more for a few months and then, with little to no notice, cut back to once a week or less.

EXAMPLES:

Five of my posts from the end of April this year:

Noon Onyx Series: Fun Tweets and Fantasy Book Giveaway (4/24)

Disney World: Magic for Everyone! (4/25)

White Heart of Justice: Great PW Review! (4/28)

Urban Fantasy Settings: Marcella Burnard on Remodeling Reality (4/29)

Disney World: Beyond Movies and Magic (5/2)

Five of my posts from the end of May this year:

RELEASE DAY PARTY: WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE! (5/27)

One to Grow On: Noon’s Mom + Cover Lovers Chat (5/28)

The Devil and His Fiddle (and the original titles of my Noon Onyx books) (5/29)

Fictional “Feast Masters,” Maleficent and Miscellaneous (6/3)

Auralee Wallace: An Exploration of Alpha vs Beta Heroes and Some Pretty Tasteless Fun (6/4)

My three posts for August this year:

C.L. Wilson: Ten Things I’ve Learned Since I Started Writing (8/8)

#Writing: Buildingbuilding – Overwhelmed by Worldbuilding? Try a more focused approach… (8/18)

MIND MELD: What’s Your Take on Author Legacies? Should Unfinished Series Remain Unfinished? (8/20)

#2 HAVE A GREAT HEADLINE

THEY say a blog headline should be like a news headline – attention grabbing, full of good key words that will aid SEO, and, if at all possible, have a number in it.

EXAMPLES:

17 Things To Do Before the End of Summer

40 Ways To Make An Amazing Ice Cream Sundae

15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly

I say write whatever headline pops into your head first. No numbers, no key words, just a vague phrase that probably only means something to you.

EXAMPLES:

Life (6/4/13) (What was this post really about? Picture of a Life cereal box looking like rabid baby wolves had gotten to it (my kids) and some Noon Onyx updates)

Everything but the… (fav flav of Ben & Jerry’s… and all sorts of Other Stuff) (7/31/13) (What was this post really about? Among other things: the movie DANGEROUS BEAUTY, Rachel Neumeier’s HOUSE OF SHADOWS, HBO’s THE NEWSROOM.)

All Sorts of Good Stuff (5/24/14) (What was this post really about? Some pretty pictures from a hike I took, some links re: WHOJ, and a picture of my grandparents when they were young.)

Last Monday in May (5/26/14) (What was this post really about? Invitation to my online WHOJ release day party, a B&N eGC giveaway, and a story w pics about us being stranded in a broken down boat on the Chesapeake.)

The month of leaves and roses… and inclines, fountains, cakes, and columns… movies, mail, ducks, and dragons (6/30/14) (What was this post really about? A summer road trip to Pittsburgh, writing updates, my birthday, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, and a cute picture of my friend’s bearded dragon.)

#3 KEEP POSTS SHORT

THEY say write blog posts that are somewhere between 300-500 words – basically enough for the search engines to see it as a substantive, meaty post but not enough to overwhelm followers who have busy lives and limited time.

I say write LONG posts… 1,000-2,500 word posts… posts that touch on all sorts of things… posts that cram unbelievable amounts of info into them.

EXAMPLES:

Is there a market for #NewAdult Fantasy? (1,798 words)

The Business of #Writing: Books and Writer’s Groups (1,043 words)

What to Read and Watch: 3 Fantasy Novels + 2 Futuristic Movies + 1 Horror Show #SFF (1,139 words)

#Writing: Revisions and WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE Snippets #SFF (1,876 words)

Dog Days of Summer (1,026 words) (Oh, and btw, since this post also violated rule #2… it’s actually about my summer 2013 road trip to Tennessee)

Debut Author’s Year End Thoughts on Being Published (2,432 words – whoa!)

Interview with Shamus Williams, New Jersey State Trooper and “River Cop” (2,366 words – yikes!)

A Writer’s Perspective: Why Titanic’s Story Endures (1,078 words)

#4 USE POSTS TO CREATE A BRAND

THEY say your posts should have something to do with who you are or what you write.

I say nah, go ahead and muddy the brand. If you write a series about a twenty-something postgrad magic user whose name rhymes with moon, you should definitely blog about:

Day tripping, museums, aviation, boating, biking, and hiking (my “On The Fly” posts)

Movies and movie marathons

Generally wacky, creepy and/or fun stuff

And don’t forget to throw in the odd vintage pic or two every now and then!

Obviously, this post is tongue-in-cheek. It’s half reminder to those of you that blog to do as they say, not as I do and half apology to my followers that I don’t follow the rules.

Hey, but you know what they say about rules, right? I’m gonna keep up with my horrible blog habits and hope you all forgive me.

Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE – BLOG TOUR KICK OFF

Today is the kick off for my WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE blog tour! What does this mean?! Well, mostly it means lots of posts and prizes. Below is a tentative blog tour schedule. (The nature of blogging being what it is, I can’t guarantee that a blogger or review site will be able to post on the date listed below. Things happen. Schedules change. Glitches occur. But this is the plan.) I will do my best to add dedicated links on my WHOJ blog tour page as soon as the posts are live. Each stop on the Bewitching Book Tour will have additional chances for you to win my awesome prizes — also detailed below. There are only SEVEN DAYS left before White Heart of Justice‘s release. If you haven’t pre-ordered already, what are you waiting for?! If you have enjoyed even one blog post here, do me a huge favor and pre-order. 🙂 And, if you already have pre-ordered, THANK YOU!!! Early reviews and feedback have been great!! Noon Onyx fans, fantasy fans, fans of dark worlds inhabited by strong characters, monsters and magic — this one’s for you! 😀

urban fantasy, dark fantasy, fantasy, White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, cover reveal, cover art

PRE-ORDER LINKS

Since Lucifer claimed victory at Armageddon, demons, angels, and humans have coexisted in uneasy harmony. Those with waning magic are trained to maintain peace and order. But hostilities are never far from erupting…

After years of denying her abilities, Noon Onyx, the first woman in history to wield waning magic, has embraced her power. She’s won the right to compete in the prestigious Laurel Crown Race—an event that will not only earn her the respect of her peers but also, if she wins, the right to control her future.

However, Noon’s task is nearly impossible: retrieve the White Heart of Justice, a mythical sword that disappeared hundreds of years ago. The sword is rumored to be hidden in a dangerous region of Halja that she is unlikely to return from. But Noon’s life isn’t the only thing hanging in the balance. The sword holds an awesome power that, in the wrong hands, could reboot the apocalypse—and Noon is the only one who can prevent Armageddon from starting again…

TENTATIVE SCHEDULE

Topics and Links to Live Posts Will Be Added Later

For giveaway details see below

Posts marked with an * are outside of the BBT tour

May 20 Spotlight/Excerpt

Butterfly-o-Meter Books

 

May 20 Review

Happy Tails and Tales

 

May 21 Interview

Books Direct

 

May 21 Spotlight

Bookin’ It Reviews

 

May 21 Spotlight

Deb Sanders

 

May 22 Guest Blog

Magic and Mayhem

 

May 22 Spotlight

Coffee Break

 

May 22 Spotlight

Cherry Mischievous

 

May 23 Guest Blog

Christina McKnight

 

May 23 Spotlight

Shut Up & Read

 
* May 27 RELEASE DAY PARTY!
Bitten By Books
Separate Giveaway: $50 Amazon eGift Certificate
 

May 28 Guest Blog

Night Owl Reviews

 
* May 28 Guest Blog
SFSignal
 

* May 28 Guest Blog

The Reading Café

 

May 29 Spotlight and Review

What the Cat Read

 

May 30 Interview

CBY Book Club

 

May 30 Spotlight

Melissa Stevens

 

June 2 review 

Tynga’s Reviews

 

June 3 Guest Blog

Preternatura

 

June 4 Guest blog

Addicted 2 Heroines

 

June 5 Interview

JeanzBookReadNReview

 

June 6 Interview

Fantasy Book Addict

 

June 6 review

Leeanna.me

 

June 9 Spotlight

3 Partners in shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!

 

June 9 review 

Babel at Tower of Babel

 

June 10 Spotlight

On the Broomstick

 

June 10 Spotlight

Fang-tastic Books

BBT TOUR-WIDE GIVEAWAYS

You may recall I mentioned earlier that, because this is the third book, I really wanted to HAVE FUN with my blog tour prizes. Each of the prize packs were inspired by a scene from one of the books.

The Dark Light of Day prize pack was inspired by the scene where Noon and Ivy get ready for the Barrister’s Ball. The Fiery Edge of Steel prize pack was inspired by the scene where Noon and her investigative team have dinner on the deck of their dahabiya just before reaching… well, I know many of you have read it, but if not, I don’t want to spoil it! 🙂

  • $50 Amazon eGift Certificate (or bookseller of winner’s choice) (international)
  • 5 copies of White Heart of Justice (or an earlier book in the series, winner’s choice) (international so long as Book Depository ships to your address)
  • Dark Light of Day themed prize pack (includes signed copy of book and other awesome goodies; see below) (US only)
  • Fiery Edge of Steel themed prize pack (includes signed copy of book and other awesome goodies; see below) (US only)
  • White Heart of Justice themed prize pack (includes signed copy of book and other awesome goodies; see below) (US only)

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. 18 and over. For official rules, please see my Giveaways page.

DARK LIGHT OF DAY

PRIZE PACKDark Light of Day Prize Pack

  • Signed print copy of Dark Light of Day
  • Handmade bookmark with charm
  • Natural Face Paint Kit
  • Orange Silk Flower Hair Clip
  • Atomic Fireball Candies
  • Signed copy of galley pages of scene that inspired prize pack
  • Approximate value: $40

FIERY EDGE OF STEEL

PRIZE PACKFiery Edge of Steel Prize Pack

  • Signed print copy of Fiery Edge of Steel
  • Handmade bookmark with charm
  • “The Queen of Flowers” T-shirt Tank Top
  • Set of three Silver Glass Mercury Votive Holders
  • Petite Pear Candies
  • Signed copy of galley pages of scene that inspired prize pack
  • Approximate value: $40

WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE

PRIZE PACKWhite Heart of Justice Prize Pack

  • Signed print copy of White Heart of Justice
  • Handmade bookmark with charm
  • White Crystal Headband
  • Vintage Star Pin
  • White Chocolate Meltaways
  • Signed copy of galley pages of scene that inspired prize pack
  • Approximate value: $40

White Heart of Justice Banner

Now go forth and share, pre-order, comment, enter to win, etc.! Good luck and thank you to everyone who has followed me on this journey so far!!

Oh, and stay tuned… I have one more post today… (I usually don’t do two posts a day, but you’ll see: it’s worth getting two posts/emails from me!)

Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start!

200th Post and Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

THIS is my 200th post! When I first started blogging two years or so ago, my goal was one post a week. And while there have been weeks when I’ve only posted once (and sometimes even less), other times I’ve posted daily. Lots of my posts have been articles written by my wonderful guest bloggers. Without them, my content would be less varied and I wouldn’t have been able to post as frequently. As I mentioned during my last post (Writer’s Water Cooler Round Up), I’m very grateful to them. But there’s another group, which is even more numerous and diverse, that I want to thank today for the success of this blog: YOU! Readers and followers, you are fantastic and awesome!

Over 120 Countries!

The international nature of blogging continues to amaze and delight me. I love that people from all over the world can come together online to discuss topics that interest them. Since February 25, 2012 (when WordPress first started tracking this stat) I’ve had visitors from 123 countries.

Top Ten

Here’s where most of the people who visit this blog are from:

  1. United States
  2. Canada
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Australia
  5. India
  6. Philippines
  7. Germany
  8. France
  9. Jamaica
  10. Netherlands

Favorite Topics

Unsurprisingly, people’s favorite topics are WRITING, PARANORMAL ROMANCE, and URBAN FANTASY.

Most Popular Post

Surprisingly, my top post is one I wrote very quickly, for fun — this somewhat tongue-in-cheek article: 7 Tips for Preparing for a Marathon (Oscar Movie Marathon, that is!) Since we’re heading into Oscar season once again, I figured I’d post the link in case any of you are planning on squeezing in more movies this winter. AND, if you do check out the post, please be sure to check out Sir Jog A Lot’s blog (ESPECIALLY if you are a runner!) In writing the slightly silly Oscar Movie Marathon post I quoted and linked to a bunch of bloggers who blog about running marathons. They are the real deal. And today I’m giving a Sir Jog A Lot a BIG HUGE THANK YOU for referring so many people to my site as a result of my linking to his. This is blogging at its best, people. Swapping fun stories and good advice, even if you blog about completely different topics. 😀

Happy Thanksgiving!

For those of us who live in the U.S., Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Naturally, it’s a time to be grateful for good fortune, friends and family, projects we feel passionate about, infinite cups of coffee, and WordPress. Wishing each and every one of you a wonderful week!

RELATED POST: 100th Post (small milestones can be fun to reach too!)

#Writing: Water Cooler Round Up ~ 13 Great Guest Posts

My latest guest blog series has wrapped. It’s been one of my favorites. A baker’s dozen of writers coming here to spotlight their favorite coffee shop, talk about their day jobs, post interesting pictures from day trips inspired by novels, and/or share their thoughts on writing life, the craft of writing or seasonal topics. Below is the list of writers and topics. THANK YOU to each and every one of them for participating. Everyone else, enjoy and stay tuned for more guest bloggers in 2014!

14 Fantastic Posts

  1. Karolyn James: “How Washing Dishes Put Her on the Bestseller Lists” ~ Bonus: Top 5 Turkey Day Foods!
  2. Michael S. Fedison: “Muses Versus Ghosts” ~ Perserverance
  3. KM Fawcett: “Can You Play Nice With Others” ~ Writing collaboration and working with a partner
  4. Casey Wyatt: “So You’ve Got A Doubt Monster” ~ Author Insecurity
  5. JC Hay: “Without Romance, Science Fiction Can Feel as Empty and Soulless as an Interstellar Void” ~ SFR
  6. Sapphire Phelan: A History of Witchcraft
  7. Debra Elise: Online Workshops
  8. Jami Gray: NaNoWriMo ~ “Opening Skirmish in One of the Toughest Battles You’ll Face”
  9. Kimberly Kincaid: “Give Me Some Space” ~ Why where you write is a big deal
  10. Isabella Norse: Bare Bulb Coffee Spotlight ~ “A shop with heart” in Kathleen, Georgia
  11. Lark Howard: “Pilgrimage to Marfa” ~ Road trip to small Texas town
  12. Cecilia Dominic: “A Writer on the Couch” ~ Psychologist by day, writer by night
  13. Celia Breslin: PNR Review ~ Larissa Ione’s ROGUE RIDER
  14. Jill Archer: Writers and Websites ~ 10 Neat “Extras”

Hope all of you are having a great Friday! I am writing/revising all day today and then tomorrow I’m meeting up with close friends I haven’t seen in far too long. We backpacked through Europe together back in 1995 (yikes! almost 20 years ago!). For fun, here are two pictures of us in Rome (at the Roman Forum and the Colosseum):

Rome I Rome II

Looking for #Writers (both pubbed and unpubbed)

Writer

In search of… Writers!

I’m putting together a new guest blog series for this fall. In the past, I’ve done guest blog series that focus on a particular type of story: romance, new adult, “dark stories” (UF, mystery, horror), but this time I’d love to do a guest blog series that unpublished writers could participate in too. I already have a handful of writers lined up with some great topics (interesting, different, and creative ones — love it!) but I’d like to find a few more, if possible.

Here are examples of the type of content I’m looking for in these future guest posts:

  • Writing craft / Writing process
  • Writing life
  • Speculative fiction/PNR book review (honest and fair, but generally positive)
  • SF/F movie review (especially ones that are adaptations from novels)
  • Product review (product needs to be related to writing or reading)
  • Spotlight your favorite Bookstore or Coffee Shop
  • Neat post about your day job (especially if it’s in an interesting career and/or something someone might base a character on)
  • Travel post related to books in some way – either a research trip you took or a trip to a place that was a setting in a book you read
  • Seasonal post related to Halloween: books, decorations, costumes, food, history, etc.

I’m NOT looking for posts about your WIP, current project, or published work but published authors can include their published work in their bio and I can share links to websites, blogs, FB, Twitter, etc. I’m hoping that some of you will think this idea is as fun as I do. I like blogging and am excited to see the posts for a guest blog series like this.

If you’re interested in participating, please e-mail me (archer at jillarcher dot com) and include the information below:

  • Title for the post
  • Description of what you want to talk about
  • Online contact info
  • Anything else you think is relevant

Please forward this post to anyone you think might be interested. Thanks, everyone!

Winner and Results of Reader Survey

Rosie the RiveterThe winner of the Rosie the Riveter bag that I was giving away in connection with last week’s “On the Fly” series of posts is KIMBERLY M. Kimberly, I’ll be in touch with you about mailing it. Everyone else, thank you very much for participating. I loved reading all your comments and hearing from everyone.

Results of my reader survey can be summed up in seven words: IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT. 😀 For the most part, everyone seems to like the diversity of posts here. Collectively, your votes for particular topics fall in line with how often I post them. The one exception to this was BOOK REVIEWS. This was a more popular topic than I anticipated. I’ll admit that posting regular book reviews is hard for me, mostly for time reasons. My paying job as a writer (for now) is the Noon Onyx series, so that’s where I need to prioritize my time. I love this blog, but it generates zero income for me. Book reviews take longer to write than movie reviews. I also buy all of the books I review myself and, for various reasons, I can’t review every book I read. BUT I would love to post more book reviews and will see what I can do about that in the future.

I’ll leave the reader survey open for a little while in case anyone else wants to vote on what you’d like to see here. If you have any specific ideas regarding a topic that you’d like to see discussed, you can always e-mail me (archer at jillarcher dot com) or just use my contact page to get in touch with me.

Thanks for following the blog, everyone! Hope you all had a nice weekend.

Blog Readers: What’s Your Favorite Type of Content?

I blog for a variety of reasons: it’s a creative outlet, a way to connect with others online, and a way to update everyone on what’s up with me and the series I write. But it’s been a long time since I asked all of you what YOU want to see here. As I think about possible website/blog changes and a new guest blog series for fall, I figured it would be the perfect time to ask you…

Thanks, everyone! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

NAmazing Adventure Starts Today! (Over 60 New Adult Authors, Fun Quests, Great Prize Packs)

I mentioned earlier I was participating in NA Alley’s NAmazing Adventure. I’m featuring Dark Light of Day in the event, which starts today. It’s a blog hop with six different quests. At the end of each quest is a set of questions. Questers/adventurers have a week to complete all of the quests. Speed doesn’t matter, but accuracy does — so take good notes! 😀 Possible prizes include ARCs, print books, ebooks, eGift Certificates, etc. My post is below…

NAmazing Adventure

Welcome to my stop on the NAmazing Adventure, a blog hop featuring over 60 New Adult authors, and prize packs that include ARCs, signed books, gift cards, swag, and more! If you’re not sure what the NAmazing Adventure is, please click here to start from the beginning and read the complete rules on the NA Alley website. Now let’s get this journey on the road!

Jill Archer's Dark Light of Day

Armageddon is over. The demons won. And yet somehow…the world has continued. Survivors worship patron demons under a draconian system of tributes and rules. These laws keep the demons from warring among themselves, the world from slipping back into chaos.

Noon Onyx grew up on the banks of the river Lethe, daughter of a prominent politician, and a descendant of Lucifer’s warlords. Noon has a secret—she was born with waning magic, the dark, destructive, fiery power that is used to control demons and maintain the delicate peace among them. But a woman with waning magic is unheard of and some will consider her an abomination.

Noon is summoned to attend St. Lucifer’s, a school of demon law. She must decide whether to declare her powers there…or attempt to continue hiding them, knowing the price for doing so may be death. And once she meets the forbiddingly powerful Ari Carmine—who suspects Noon is harboring magic as deadly as his own—Noon realizes there may be more at stake than just her life.

Excerpt from Dark Light of Day

This scene is from Chapter 7 and takes place in a dark, dusty, secluded area of Corpus Justica, the law library. Noon declared her magic the night before. Ari is another student at St. Lucifer’s. Hyrkes are humans with no magic.

“I couldn’t let you be killed,” he continued, “and not because I know your father or because we could use your magic, and definitely not because your failure to declare would reflect badly on me.” He snorted. “You know full well the reason I don’t want you killed, but you refuse to accept it. You’re still trying to hide,” he murmured and I shivered beneath him. “But I won’t let you.”

He kissed me then and it was unimaginably different than any other time I’d been kissed. I surrendered completely. Despite the awkwardness I felt, this was what I had wanted. I felt like a weak, knobby kneed girl who’d just swooned in her lover’s arms, but Ari’s kiss made me feel deliciously feminine. His mouth came down on mine insistently, his lips soft but firm, his grip quickly moving from my chin to the back of my nape as he tilted my head back to gain greater access. His tongue darted across my lips, an unmistakable question.

Would I yield to him?

I did. What else could I do? I wanted him in the worst way. He assailed me both physically and magically. The skin beneath my demon mark burned, my whole being coursed with heat. Waning magic swirled around us and Ari stood up, pulling me to him.

“I’ve wanted to do this since the first time I saw you,” he said. His voice was gravelly and rough, rumbling deep within his chest. There was an unusual rawness to it. I would have rolled my eyes and made a joke about the bounds of his arrogance being so great that he was determined to have every conceivable sexual experience, even those that bordered on the exotic or bizarre. But there was something eerily serious about his gaze as he looked at me. A joke seemed inappropriate. I settled for an incredulous look.

“Noon, don’t you know how beautiful you are?”

Men had called me beautiful before. But they’d all been Hyrkes, unknowing of my true nature, of what I was really capable of. If they’d only known what was lurking beneath my pretty porcelain shell . . . My magic flared up, vicious and strong, all soft edges made sharp again, the last few minutes almost forgotten.

“Let me help you,” Ari said gruffly. “Let me teach you how to control your magic.”

“What’s in it for you?”

“You, I hope,” Ari said, meeting my magic with his own. He didn’t try to soften my edges; he just parried them with his own.

“I can’t stop thinking about you, you know,” he said, squeezing me to him. “You fascinate me.”

He followed up his declaration with another kiss, this one more scalding than the last, and then dropped me back into my seat, breathless and wanting.

Got that jotted down in your quest scroll? 😉

Great, because you’ll need it for the quiz at the end of this quest! And remember, you must complete ALL SIX quizzes to be eligible for a prize pack.

Want another chance to win

Dark Light of Day?

After the NAmazing Adventure ends, I’ll pick one commenter from this post who will win a print copy of Dark Light of Day. To be eligible to win, you must live in the U.S. –or– The Book Depository must ship to your address. Tell me whether you’ve ever kissed anyone in a library before… what your favorite NA book is and why… if you’re a fantasy fan… what movies you’ve seen or want to see this summer… where you’re from… or anything else you want to share.

Thanks for stopping by. Ready to move on?

Click HERE to go to the next stop on your adventure!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Spring Into Summer Romance Wrap Up

My 2013 Spring Into Summer Romance guest blog series has ended. By now, each of you should have at least a partial list of reads for this summer! I hope it includes all of the genres I love — fantasy, romance, mystery, new adult –and whatever else strikes your fancy. I wanted to give a final thanks and shout out to all of the guest bloggers who participated in this series. If you missed any of the posts, links are below.

In addition to READING and WRITING, here are a few other things I hope to do this summer…

Hit the beach! Jersey Shore
Hit the beach!
Jersey Shore
Go Hiking Blue Ridge Mountains
Go Hiking
Blue Ridge Mountains
Go boating on the Chesapeake Bay St. Michael's, Maryland
Go Boating
St. Michael’s, Maryland
Go flying! Tiny airstrip out in Erie, Pennsylvania
Go Flying
Tiny airstrip out near Erie, Pennsylvania
Go biking! Rails to Trail
Go Biking
Rails-to-Trail in central PA
Enjoy the rainbows
Enjoy the rainbows!

Happy 4th of July to everyone in the U.S.! I hope there are lots of backyard picnics, fireworks, parades, carnivals, beaches, rivers, lakes, and/or pools in your plans for tomorrow!!

Fiery Edge of Steel Blog Tour Winners & Thank You

The Fiery Edge of Steel blog tour was fun! With the help of the blog tour hosts, I shared excerpts from Chapter One, my main character participated in a Supernatural Smackdown, I talked about why I like writing fantasy, reviews, and day trips for your muse. I shared who I thought would make a great Noon, Ari, and Rafe if the books were made into movies, told everyone my thoughts on love triangles, and even wrote some flash fiction. There were a lot of other great posts and interviews. If you missed any of them and are interested in checking them out, check out the links on my Fiery Edge of Steel blog tour page.

If you enjoyed Fiery Edge of Steel,

please be Noon’s “ambassador” and help spread the word about the series

1. Talk it up! Tell everyone. Word of mouth continues to be the best way to support a book or its author. If you liked the book and recommend it to just one other person — that is a huge help!

2. Give it an honest and fair review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or wherever you hang out online. This will help readers who have similar reading tastes find it. (Your review doesn’t have to be long. A sentence or two can make a big difference in helping other readers discover the series.)

Tour-Wide Winners and Many Thanks

Robin M. and Kristia M. won the prize packs I was giving away (copies of both books and a $10 eGC). I am truly thankful to everyone who participated in the tour by sharing links, commenting, tweeting, posting status updates, etc.

Thank you to each and every one of you who purchased and/or read Fiery Edge of Steel. Your support is much appreciated! No one can be an author without an audience. *Your* interest is what keeps the series going! 😀

Roxanne Rhoads at Bewitching Book Tours, who helped me to organize, schedule, and promote this tour, gets a special thanks. She did a fantastic job of rounding up interested bloggers, making sure they had all the necessary information for posts, and getting the word out about the tour. She also ran the tour-wide contests, which I was grateful for. I also want to thank my publisher, Penguin/Ace, for supplying the ARCs that I gave away during the first part of the tour and my editor and publicist who also helped to get the word out about some of the posts.

Thank you to all of the book bloggers who hosted me on their sites, posted promotional materials, and/or reviewed Fiery Edge of Steel. Below is a list of Bewitching Book Tours blog tour participants, but my thanks goes out to EVERYONE who took the time to check out the book, recommend it, write a review, and/or rate it on Goodreads and/or Amazon. Likely you are doing the same thing for other authors and this helps keep our shared passion (books!) alive.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Bewitching Book Tours Sizzling Summer Giveaway!

I mentioned before that I was participating in Bewitching Book Tours Sizzling Summer Giveaway and I promised more information on it. This post tells you everything you need to know to enter to win some really awesome prizes (including books, prize packs, and a Kindle Fire HD 8.9” screen with Wifi and 16GB). Over thirty Bewitching authors joined together to offer FOUR separate giveaway packs. Check them out below. Giveaway ends July 21st.

paranormal, bewitching books, supernatural, fantasy, giveaway, contest

Rafflecopter Giveaway One:

Kindle and swag packs

  •  1 Kindle HD -30 authors joined together to offer a spectacular grand prize A Kindle Fire HD 8.9” screen , Wifi ,16GB $269 value Open to US shipping, if outside US you can receive an equal value Amazon Gift Card
  •  1 huge package of book swag from Bewitching Book Tours filled with fun goodies from Bewitching Book Tours, owner Roxanne Rhoads and numerous Bewitching authors including a Starbucks giftcard from Gina Conkle
  •  4 packages of book swag from Bewitching Book Tours- filled with fun goodies from Bewitching authors
  •  1 mixed swag pack of various book swag from Milly Taiden
  •  1 book swag from Constance Phillips
  •  $15 Amazon gift card from Sky Purington

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE RAFFLECOPTER FORM FOR GIVEAWAY ONE.

Rafflecopter Giveaway Two:

Print Books

  •  1 set of Bleeding Hearts (Demimonde #1) and Blood Rush (Demimonde #2) by Ash Krafton- US Shipping
  • 2 sets of Her Dear & Loving Husband and Her Loving Husband’s Curse by Meredith Allard open to US Shipping
  •  1 Kidnapped by Maria Hammarbald us shipping
  •  1 ROGUE ORACLE and DARK ORACLE by Alayna Williams- us shipping
  •  1 EMBERS and SPARKS by Laura Bickle- US shipping
  •  1 Fall of Sky City by SM Blooding US Shipping only
  •  1 signed set of DARK LIGHT OF DAY and FIERY EDGE OF STEEL by Jill Archer
  •  1 Life After the Undead and Death to the Undead by Pembroke Sinclair- US shipping
  •  1 DiSemblance by Shanae Branham
  •  1 Shield: Allie’s War, Book Two by JC Andrijeski (or Revik: Allie’s War, Early Years) by JC Andrijeski
  •  1 signed copy of VICIOUS CIRCLE by Linda Robertson (or any other title written by her if winner already has VC)
  •  1 DiSemblance by Shanae Branham open to International Shipping
  •  1 The Necromancer’s Seduction by Mimi Sebastian open to International Shipping
  •  2 print copies of The Chosen by Annette Gisby, US/Canada and UK entrants
  •  1 Print or ebook Copy of Night Hawk by JE Taylor to US residents or ebook (mobi or epub) for international folks. If US resident would prefer ebook – that can be done as well.
  •  1 Print or ebook Copy of Hunting Season by JE Taylor to US residents or ebook (mobi or epub) for international folks. If US resident would prefer ebook – that can be done as well
  •  1 Winner’s choice of print or digital (.mobi or .epub) of Royal Street or River Road by Suzanne Johnson, in either U.S. or U.K. editions; open to international.
  •  1 Winner’s Choice of print, audio, or digital (.mobi only) of Redemption, Absolution, Omega, or Storm Force by Susannah Sandlin open to international.
  •  1 All three books in the Phaeton Black, Paranormal Investigator series The Seduction of Phaeton Black, The Moonstone and Miss Jones, The Miss Education of Dr. Exeter by Jillian Stone. Print or eBook any format, reader’s choice Ebook open international

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE RAFFLECOPTER FORM FOR GIVEAWAY TWO.

Bewitching Giveaway Three:

YA Books

  • 1 Signed print copy Portal by Imogen Rose- US Shipping
  •  1 Signed print copy of INITIATION by Imogen Rose- US Shipping
  •  1 print copy Hollow’s End by Marianne Morea- US Shipping
  •  5 print copies Visionary Unleashed by N. Dunham US shipping
  •  1 THE HALLOWED ONES by Laura Bickle- US Shipping
  •  1 print copy The Ifs (middle grade book) by JD Pooker
  •  1 print set of Reckoning and Relentless by Molly Hall- US shipping
  •  1 ebook copy of Soul Meaning by AD Starrling
  •  1 ebook copy of King’s Crusade by AD Starrling (
  •  1 ebook copy Hollow’s End by Marianne Morea
  •  5 ecopies Visionary Unleashed by N. Dunham
  •  5 ecopies of Portal by Imogen Rose
  •  5 ecopies INITIATION by Imogen Rose

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE RAFFLECOPTER FORM FOR GIVEAWAY THREE.

Bewitching Books Tours Summer Giveaway Four:

E-books

  • 1 ebook copy Flashback by Maria Hammarblad
  •  10 ebook copies of Shield: Allie’s War, Book Two by JC Andrijeski (or Revik: Allie’s War, Early Years)
  •  1 Tyrant of Tarsit (Time travel romance) by Holly Hunt
  •  2 ebooks of New Zealand with a Hobbit Botherer by John Gisby (international)
  •  1 each Bleeding Hearts (Demimonde #1) and Blood Rush (Demimonde #2) by Ash Krafton
  •  2 copies each Her Dear & Loving Husband and Her Loving Husband’s Curse by Meredith Allard
  •  1 Winner’s choice Caged Heat or Wolf Protector by Milly Taiden
  •  1 ecopy Resurrecting Harry by Constance Phillips
  •  1 The Cat’s Meow by Stacey Kennedy
  •  1 Stavros is giving away 1 of each- eBook copies of Dead Girl: A Romantic Zombie Tale of Revenge, Blood Junky, and Love in Vein
  •  1 Murder on Mars (A New Orleans Mystery) by MM Shelley
  •  1 Little Red Riding Wolf by Jessica Aspen, mobi or epub available
  •  1 Cindy Spencer Paper is giving away an E-book – winner’s choice of any available on her website.
  •  1 eCopy of The MacLomain Series Boxed Set by Sky Purington (Books 1-4), PDF or gifted to Kindle
  •  5 free copies of DRAGONSTONE by Paula Millhouse : pdf, emobi, ePub
  •  5 ecopies of THREE WISHES by Paula Millhouse pdf, mobi, ePub
  •  1 ecopy SMOKE AND MIRRORS (The Gifted, Book 1) by Marie Treanor
  •  1 ecopy SERAFINA AND THE SILENT VAMPIRE (Serafina’s, Book 1) by Marie Treanor
  •  1 BLOOD GUILT (Blood Hunters, Book 1) by Marie Treanor
  •  1 Annie Nicholas is giving away Reader’s choice of any ebook from her backlist winner’s choice of .pdf, epub, mobi.
  •  1 one e-book set of the first two books in the Seven Seals Series (Seal of Destiny and Seal of Surrender) by Traci Douglass
  •  1 ecopy Wucaii by Pembroke Sinclair
  •  2 ebooks of Silent Screams by Annette Gisby (international)
  •  2 ebooks of Shadows of the Rose by Annette Gisby (international)
  •  3 EBOOKS (one set): THE CROSSE HARBOR TIME TRAVEL TRILOGY by Barbara Bretton
  •  1 More Than Friends by Jessica Jayne (.epub, .pdf, .mobi)
  •  1 In Flames by Jessica Jayne (.epub, .prc and .pdf)

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE RAFFLECOPTER FORM FOR GIVEAWAY FOUR.

Good luck, everyone!

Udvar-Hazy “Become a Pilot” Day, More Interview Links, and Updates

Summer has officially started but lots of things are winding down with me. The Bewitching Book Tours virtual book tour that I’m doing to help spread the word about Fiery Edge of Steel‘s release will be ending next week. Friday, June 28th, will be the last spotlight. After that, winners of the blog tour goodies will be announced. So there are a few more chances to put your name in for a chance to win copies of Dark Light of Day, Fiery Edge of Steel, and a $10 eGift Certificate to a bookstore of the winner’s choice.

Now would be a great time to mention how thankful I am to everyone who has participated in the tour or who has helped to put the word out about the Noon Onyx series. Sending out a big, heartfelt THANK YOU to all of the blog hosts, interviewers, readers, reviewers, and commenters! I’m grateful for all of the tweets, status updates, shares, spotlights, and reviews. It’s been a lot of fun meeting everyone online and hearing readers’ reactions to Fiery Edge of Steel. To all of you who told me know how much you’ve enjoyed the series or how much you love the books, the world, and/or the characters, you are all fantastic and amazing. I appreciate the support!

Here’s a run down of where I’ve been lately:

Lissette E. Manning (I discuss what makes Noon such a different character, how she feels about being descended from Lucifer’s warlords, and the fact that her refusal to “shoot first and ask questions later” makes her an outsider with her peers)

Vicky at Deal Sharing Aunt (Top three things to know about Dark Light of Day and how members of the Host use waning magic to control demons)

Friday Nights Live Radio Interview with Bewitching Book Tours Radio (30 minute interview with host Kriss Morton from Cabin Goddess. We talk about ALL KINDS OF STUFF. 😀 )

What’s up for next week and later this summer?

Monday, I’ll be guest blogging at the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter of RWA. I’ll be talking about “Road Trips for Your Muse.” On Tuesday and Thursday, I’ll host the last two guests in my Spring Into Summer Romance guest blog series. Then on Friday, I’ll be at Paranormal Haven for their “Why Didn’t I Think of That?!?!” summer feature.

*AND* I’m also participating in Bewitching Book Tours Sizzling Summer Giveaway and NA Alley’s NAmazing Adventure. More details on those two events to come!

Udvar-Hazy Center’s

“Become a Pilot” Family Day

Last Saturday, our family went down to the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia for its “Become a Pilot” Family Day and Aviation Display. It was Father’s Day weekend and the air and space museum was packed with dads and aviation enthusiasts, my husband being one of them. My girls enjoyed climbing into some of the planes and experimental aircraft that were on display, as well as flying in the simulators. My favorite part was seeing space shuttle Discovery. Pretty darn amazing!

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Space Shuttle Discovery
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Heat shield
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Rudder and main engines
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Outside aviation display
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Police rescue and transport helicopter
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Great day for kite flying!
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Udvar-Hazy Center
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Blackbird
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Future Flying Ace 🙂

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!